Prominent Greek writer and outspoken critic of the Church of Greece, Petros Tatsopoulos, was arrested on Monday after a candidate with the Christian nationalist Greek Solution party sued him for defamation and accused him of violating his religious freedom.
Petros Tatsopoulos was taken into custody in downtown Athens after speaking at an event on religion and education organized at the Free Thinking Zone bookshop.
He was released from custody by a prosecutor’s order around midnight. A date for the trial is still to be set, the writer posted on social media. He added that he would never stop to expose those exploiting religion for political reasons.
— Πέτρος Τατσόπουλος (@Petros59Tats) January 31, 2023
Tatsopoulos has been sued by TV presenter Filippos Kambouris, who recently announced his candidacy with Greek Solution. Kambouris confirmed the lawsuit in a social media post, where he accused the writer of defamation and of insulting his faith and religious freedom.
The suit came after Tatsopoulos accused Kambouris on social media of exploiting his faith to drum up voter support during a visit to a monastery in Nea Makri, eastern Attica, where he said that the patron saint, Efraim, performed a miracle that saved his life after a stroke in 2020.
— Πέτρος Τατσόπουλος (@Petros59Tats) January 29, 2023
The government responded to the news of Tatsopoulos’ arrest with a statement stressing that freedom of expression is enshrined in the Greek Constitution and cannot be abused for political expediency.
“Premeditated scenes of artificial tension and the arrest of citizens because they express their opinion are condemnable,” government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said in a post.
Tatsopoulos was an MP with leftist SYRIZA from 2012-2014 and also ran for Parliament with conservative New Democracy in 2019, as well as with centrist To Potami in 2015. [kathimerini, others]